We have an hourly employee who needs to take time off to care for a seriously sick family member. Because this employee is so valuable, we plan to continue to pay him his full, regular pay check even though he won't be at work for about a month. This employee needs the money and he's valuable so it was very easy to make this decision. (Our employee handbook does not explicitly address paid leave for caring for sick family members.)
I could see the potential for a discrimination issue if he was say the only Jewish (or insert any other protected class) employee and everyone after that is some other religion. Otherwise, you are free to treat different employees differently, just as long as it is not because they are in a particular protected class.
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